PayPal founder Peter Thiel became the first big investor in Facebook when he handed over $500,000 in 2004. Fast forward eight years and Thiel has sold off a majority of his shares in the social network, pushing his overall earnings in the company to just over $1 billion.
In his most recent stock dump, Thiel sold 20.1 million shares and distributed another 2.2 million for a total value of $395.8 million. Had Thiel sold his stock back in May, he would have earned $762 million at $38 per share.
Thiel pre-arranged his stock sale when shares were worth $38 per share but still has 5.6 million shares remaining. The Wall Street Journal notes that Peter Thiel still owns $112 million.
The sale comes at a time when investors have already become wary of Facebook’s performance, pushing the stock to $18.75 per share on Monday before rebounding to $20.01.
One of the biggest losers in the Facebook stock issue is Instagram; when Facebook purchased the company for $1 billion much of that buyout came in the form of stock. The New York Times estimates that Instagram has lost nearly $300 million due to stock based performances.
Peter Thiel invested in the company when it was valued at a mere $4.2 million and was operating with a very small staff.
Other investors last week were also handed their stock including Goldman Sachs, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, and Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman. None of those company’s were expected to sell their stakes in the company with shares valued at such low prices.
One of the largest investors is still Microsoft, which owns 26 million shares.